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Old 06-04-2004   #1
cuzco
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Can google stop link buying?

We know google does not like webmasters buying links/PR, so what do you think they are doing to stop this?

How would they automate the detection process? What would they look for to distinguish link buying from natural linking?

Some have said the google “sandbox” effect is to stop link buying, what evidence is there for this? could the sandbox effect be to stop something else, like 100’s of doorway pages or sites that used to rank well for few months then die etc?

Thanks
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Old 06-04-2004   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzco
We know google does not like webmasters buying links/PR, so what do you think they are doing to stop this?
try to plant seeds of doubt to make buying or selling pagerank less appealing until they can eventually come out with an algorithm that focuses on local hubs and less on overall web link popularity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzco
How would they automate the detection process? What would they look for to distinguish link buying from natural linking?
I do not work at a search engine, but they can look for patterns. Sites with many sitewide links. Sites with many links in a row...stuff like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzco
Some have said the google “sandbox” effect is to stop link buying, what evidence is there for this?
some sites that should have ranked well based on extreme amounts of optimized inbound text link link popularity were not / are not

Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzco
could the sandbox effect be to stop something else, like 100’s of doorway pages or sites that used to rank well for few months then die etc?
100's of doorway pages cost a decent amount of money to set up. Google can and most likely significantly does devalue links from the same IP C block. setting up hundreds of different hosting accounts is hard to manage. also all those different sites will not have any link popularity to parse out unless the webmaster can get other sites to link into it.
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Old 06-04-2004   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seobook
some sites that should have ranked well based on extreme amounts of optimized inbound text link link popularity were not / are not

100's of doorway pages cost a decent amount of money to set up. Google can and most likely significantly does devalue links from the same IP C block. setting up hundreds of different hosting accounts is hard to manage. also all those different sites will not have any link popularity to parse out unless the webmaster can get other sites to link into it.
Thanks


Maybe i should of left the last paragraph as “could the sandbox effect be to stop something else”

As far as i was aware the sandbox effect stopped new sites ranking for a few months no matter where the backlinks came from. That would only effect link buyers for a few months when most link buying is an ongoing year round strategy for some SEO's

Doorway pages was just meant as an example of something else that sandbox effect could be going after.

I also know of at least one company that specialise in creating 100’s of doorway pages, it might be expensive but they aren’t cheap, as soon as one page gets hit that make another – they’re subject of many ethical forums.
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Old 06-04-2004   #4
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Who would link to an obvious doorway?

I would not. Even for money.

And if a site at a doorway domain is good enough to link to it - I think it is not a doorway anymore... but just another site? Or am I wrong?
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Old 06-04-2004   #5
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Forget about doorway pages for now.

Back to link buying.

I think we can all manually spot most sites selling links.

I am looking for peoples thoughts on what factors google will look for to automate the process – all speculation but some might be spotting anti-link buying already.

Curious what strategy’s google will implement to combat link buying without effecting natural linking.

One possibilities of the top of my head.
Only count x amount or a % of the links from the same domain/IP to site A. –What legitimate sites would this hit?
Other ideas?

Thanks
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Old 06-04-2004   #6
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Suppose a webmaster looks for relevant sites (say, 100 of them) with good PR... or good positions in SERPs... or whatever. Then buys exactly one link from each.

It's a hard job, of course, but not harder than any other link building activity, be it a reciprocal linking campaign or anything. But the resulting pattern will be totally undetectable.

There is nothing Google can do to stop it IMHO
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Old 06-04-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irony
There is nothing Google can do to stop it IMHO
they can delay pagerank update
do the short term sandbox thingie
block pagerank from being parsed on some sites
pr 0 some sites for blatently selling tons of links

the biggest thing they can to is plant seeds of doubt to lower demand and raise costs to make ROI less predictable. Of course as they lower demand supply will exceed demand and lower price to a new equilibrium.

they will eventually move away from pagerank some and more toward their hilltop and localrank stuff. in the meantime their main defense is raising cost and extending out the time required to create a bogusly high ranking site (thus further raising costs).
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Old 06-04-2004   #8
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They might eventually move away from PageRank but it won't stop the selling of links for keyword rich anchor text.

What might slow the business of selling such links are the other points you mentioned. But I know that link building companies have already made adjustments to their strategies to think more in the future.
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Old 06-04-2004   #9
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Ok then! How about this theory. I don't think it could be possibly for Google to track the selling of links automatically. Impossible feat even by super computer.

You could analyse website links when the bot runs this time, then next time and detect increases, but really, how in gods green earth could you tell which sites are selling them. The site that adds one link or 100 links between crawls? That is a natural part of every site. Links go in and out, people change their sites daily and lots more.

IMO, the hubs would be where to start and the places to monitor. Such hubs as Linkadage, etc who are clearly selling PR value and not advertising would be the spots to monitor. That is the only logical solution I could think off at present, but certainly not automatically. The SE's could set up something similar to spam report, but then like that, nothing would likely happen.

Then with everything, there are simple ways to get around it. If you where selling PR, something like, $100 per month link on this PR8 page you could change to many possibilities:

# $100 per month for link listing upon this page
# This page receives "x" visits daily. $100 per month 3 word phrase listing. Download Google toolbar for further market analysis. (maybe a link to a page explaining what PageRank means on a marketing scale)

This could be a real tough one to monitor. Lets face it, everyone does it if they sell advertising because you always consider the PageRank within the costing. Pagerank + page views = $$$.
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Old 06-04-2004   #10
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Yup, the nature development of the Web is by links. Viral marketing is all about Web site plugs. You can not simply look at percentage increases or decreases in link count.
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Old 06-04-2004   #11
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OK, so google can not stop all link buying, and buying single links on high PR sites will go unnoticed unless someone opens their big mouth

On these auction/link buying sites you can see people offering 5k-10k PR5/PR6 links – basically every page of their site.

Wouldn’t 5k links from one site look a bit fishy?
What if the buyer had the majority of their links from this one site?
Surely this is much easier to spot and do something about?

Doubt they would ban a site if this was auto-detected but maybe they would just stop the seller from passing on PR.

Or maybe they would only count a few of the 1000’s of links in the ranking if its seen they all come from the same site. Just a thought!
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Old 06-04-2004   #12
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Links all through the pages are irrelevant really as they all come from the same domain. Links on each page are for advertisement purposes, but the domain will only technically pass the one qualified link.
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Old 06-04-2004   #13
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I don't know if this would stop it or not but it would definitely hinder link buying:

Get rid of the PR indicator and backlinks checker. If someone cannot see their PR and if they cannot check backlinks at Google, how will they sell links based on PR6, PR7, etc., etc.?
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Old 06-04-2004   #14
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Google will not stop link buying. In fact my prediction is that it will only increase. Too many people know about it and there is too much money to be made buying it and selling it. All you have to do is never mention PR and just call it advertising or sponsorship or whatever.

I agree that they could slow things down by getting rid of the PR bar on the toolbar and directory but they seem reluctant toget rid of the one marketing gimmick that keeps their toolbar on every SEO's computer.

Besides, Google is selling Adwords to people that are selling (or brokering PR) so they help fuel the obsesion with PR and get paid for it.
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Old 06-04-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzco
We know google does not like webmasters buying links/PR, so what do you think they are doing to stop this?
Where does it say Google doesn't like this? It's not mentioned in the guidelines or anywhere else I could see. What they don't like is what SearchKing did which was to sell links based on PR. Buying links is an ad spend if Google tried to control that they'd have a very bad affect on content sites and niche directories that depend on ads for their livlihood. The sites that are setting up as link brokers and "PR Clubs" likely have some bad news coming but IMO, if you stay away from these buying ads/links from relevant or targeted sources is a good strategy that is being rewarded.
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Old 06-04-2004   #16
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The only way they'll stop PR buying is through a manual review. Once G. goes public, they'll suddenly have a lot more money to hire more people to do manual reviews. And since spammers are really G's biggest threat, I'm sure we'll see a lot of changes after the IPO.
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Old 06-04-2004   #17
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Let me offer this view:

Whats wrong with buying links? Any time you buy an advertisment, a link back to your site is a given. Why would you place an ad where no one could reach your site?

If I have a PR 8 site and I offer ads for run of site and sectional like every other web site on Earth why would Google need to do anything about it? What "law" have I broken? None. To say its wrong would be like penalzing SEW because of all of the SEO advertisers Danny has.

Now if I publicly market and base my prices of my inventry based on PR, then I am using a Google service to make money from, which Google has publicly said is a no-no (Search King anyone? Love ya Bob!).

Thoughts?
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Old 06-04-2004   #18
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I presumed everyone would know I meant buying links for PR -sorry. There are hoards of sites out there selling unrelated advertising based on PR.

So just to clear things up, this is the kind of text links I am talking about. Links that are bought just for improving ranking.

Have seen a few networks get hit for selling links, but as far as i am aware these were hit after the owners went around blatantly adverting PR for sale.

Wanted to see if people have seen any signs of google going after these sites other than manually, some have suggested “sandboxing” is an attempt at this. Also what precautions people are taking when buying links(if any), and what they think google will do next – all speculative but something i find interesting.

Didn’t really want to debate if it was right or wrong for google to go after these sites, i buy link *advertising* myself - in the end its up to google if they like it or not.
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Old 06-04-2004   #19
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Quote:
Google will not stop link buying.
But they could! Turn off the the green bar. Yet at least they have tried, in the form of manual penalty or automatic in the algo, its depends. As bhartzer pointed out an IPO might give it the fuel to develop solutions to combat link buying. Yet, why the spammer are the parasite on the back of the camel, its doesn't mean its Google's biggest problem. I am sure they have bigger fish to fry and I don't mean professional spammers. They will and always will do it one way until it gets stopped. However, I think the "sandbox" effect doesn't necessarily have all that much to do with link buying only. There is a lot of things it does to fix certain problems with PR. In my mind I can see it as benefical to some degree.

I also read in another forum, that Google might have possibly prevented PR8-PR10 and up links from passing on pagerank. (searchking, phpbb.com, etc..) I know I have several PR8 links that don't show up in the backlink checks. Yet, some do. I ones that show up are natural links. So maybe its a slow progression of stopping the link broker or monger from corrupting what they developed as a tool for a specific use other than it used for now (partly).

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Old 06-04-2004   #20
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I doubt that webmasters who are making large (dollar volume) buys of links are doing it for the PR as much as for the anchor text links. Still the defacto standard for evaluating the price of a link is the PR.

I would suspect that Google could (and probably would) step on sites that blatently sell links on the basis of PR, but as far as putting the link merchants out of business, I would suggest that simply implementing a version of LocalRank (probably in addition to PR, not in place of) that also removes the link from the relevancy equation would create a situation where a large number of links from any one site would be removed from the equation and thus they could only sell one effective link per customer and keyword per site.

When (if?) the buying public ever get wise to the fact that a text link from PR2 site is just as good as a text link from a PR8 site, and that the ranking factor of PR is not all that great, this will largely disappear in the form we see it now. Could be that an education campaign would also do the trick.
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